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Seattle To Consider Regulating Rideshare Services

The Seattle City Council will consider a pilot program to regulate rideshare services with training and insurance requirements, as well as a cap on the number of licenses. 

App-based services like Sidecar, UberX and Lyft are becoming common alternatives to using taxis. And that's not necessarily a bad thing, says Seattle City Council member Mike O’Brien.

"Technology and new ideas have fundamentally changed the way we all think about transportation, and that’s just part of the reality going forward," O'Brien said.

But without regulation, this type of service has become a public safety issue.

"A lot of the folks out there driving people for money don’t have the proper insurance when they’re conducting business on public streets," O'Brien said.

The council member supports setting up a two-year pilot program that would require driver training, vehicle inspections and insurance requirements. A proposed ordinance would also cap the number of these ride-sharing cars to no more than 300 individual drivers and award the license by lottery.

The Council's Committee for Taxi, For-hire and Limousine Regulations will take up the ordinance on Friday. 

Meanwhile, a House bill is asking state legislators to study this growing industry and possibly draft their own set of regulations.

Florangela Davila is KNKX’s news director. A journalist in Seattle since 1992, she’s earned numerous individual and team honors in print, online and broadcast, most recently three regional Murrows for KNKX.
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